Re: How to Prevent Scorching When Distilling on the Grain
As Geoff mentioned, the fabric will serve to insulate the element. In addition to affecting the efficiency, it will most likely cause the element to overheat and burn out. If the liquid cannot freely flow over the element, it won't remove the heat and the element will fail. I was trying to do the same thing as you, distill on the grain (more or less). I had strained the big stuff out but still had lots of minute grain solids and yeast in the beer. Within about 30 minutes, both of my elements had burned out, melted through the outer metal sheath. I removed them to find that there was a coating less than 1/16 of an inch thick over the entire element, which was enough to burn it up. The fabric would have similar results I believe.
Initially I tried a number of element combinations to overcome this problem including using lower watt-density elements, running 220 volt elements on 110 volts to lower the watt-density, limiting voltage with a 25 amp variac, etc. After fussing around with it for a while, I concluded that electric elements really only work effectively with cleared washes (and I'm not that patient). Even with my best attempts, I still had baked-on solids on the elements and mediocre performace of the still overall. Shortly after, I started experimenting with double boilers and now use an oil bath setup that I mentioned recently in another post.
Having said that, I'm sure someone has figured out a way to do it with electric, agitator maybe? What size of still are you planning?
--- In Distillers@yahoogroups.com, "ballard_bootlegger" <meriwetherdistilleries@...> wrote:
> After mulling over new still designs, several options include an emersion heating element. What I'm concerned about is when distilling on the grain or fruit brandy with these elements they will get so hot they will burn the larger particles, ruining the batch.
> I have an idea of how to prevent scorching, tell me what you think. I'm considering wrapping the element with heat proof fabric. The hope is that the liquid will filter through the fabric and heat while the large particles never touch the element directly thus preventing burning. I'm sure I would have to find a fabric that will not impart any flavors, but it seems like this should work.
> Can any of the big brains in this group offer advice, commentary, or perhaps a better solution?
> Drink Well.